Exodus 21:22-23 says:

“22 If men strive and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

“23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.”

The most straightforward reading of these passages seems to mean that if a man causes a woman to lose the child she is carrying, then he must pay a penalty, but something short of the death penalty for taking a life. If the woman dies, then the death penalty applies. However, I see from looking around the Internet that the right to lifers interpret it to mean that if a man cause a woman to give birth prematurely, but the child survives, then there is no death penalty, but the child dies, then the death penalty applies.

I looked into this because the talking heads on TV are saying that “values” or “morality” were the most important factors in electing Bush, but that this really meant only two issues: abortion and gay marriage. The Bible, particularly the New Testament, has so much to say about loving your neighbor and caring for the poor that I would think loving your neighbor would be important to Christians of any type — evangelical, born again, or traditional. If the abortion issue is so much more important than Jesus’ sermon on the mount, it looks like it would have gotten more attention in the Bible, and that any mention of it would be clearer than Exodus 21.

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